coffee & tea
i don’t get why drinking coffee or tea is a sort of fetishized, quirky personal detail. maybe it feels literary in some way? a relic? i mean, coffee is a safe drug in the same way wine drinkers are sooooo cute and noooot alcoholics. but really: “designer, curator, coffee drinker,” “reading, writing, and sipping tea.” what you are saying is that you consume the most common drinks in the world. that’s what i’m hearing you say. “have a job, a hobby, and a thirst i like to quench with accessible beverages.”
anyway, i just woke up so i’m going to go grab a warm drink.
because i’m alive.
2:14 pm • 18 October 2014 • 182 notes
#opinions #coffee #tea #good morning
a whole bunch of questions & answers
how the FUCK do you find the time for work and also your side work?
it can be really, really difficult. i struggle with it, especially in advertising. but i’m very stubborn. i did a small interview with AOL Jobs last week about it if you want to read more about the pros & cons.
Follow me please :)
i follow people and blogs that inspire me, but also try not to overdo it because i find the internet very overwhelming sometimes. anyway what i am trying to say is “idk no.”
How is your day going?
waking up with a latte and grits from my favorite coffee shop, packed my shit because i’m headed to philly and baltimore this weekend! leaving in a little bit.
Enlighten me on yourself? Want to know what your willing to tell.
this blog, man. there is a lot of shit here. occasionally i will get really into it and write a whole lot of shit. but in short, i am a 25 year old graphic designer who veers into lots of other territory and somehow just had a book come out and does a lot of other personal projects. otherwise i am just enjoying a relatively boring new york lifestyle, i don’t go out too much, don’t really drink anymore, and spend a lot of time with my boyfriend. i never cook because my groceries sit and spoil. i am broke most of the time because my rent keeps going up.
Do you work with some kind of music or tv background?
music, always. i jump around in my taste but i feel like lately i’ve just been listening to a ton of alanis morissette and lykke li, after just seeing her last week.
What do you think about Russia?
i don’t think i know enough to have an opinion. all the old buildings seem fascinating and i would like to visit someday. the gay shit is terrifying but i accept that the world is essentially fucking awful sometimes. what else. idk. my book is being translated into russian? maybe i will get to come.
if you had obtained a Koala Bear from someone who could no longer care for him, what would you name him?
i would continue to use his given name, unless it was really fucking stupid. but if he responded to it already, i would of course maintain regardless. also the koala is a boy because all koalas are boys, just like all cats are girls. obviously.
I’m sorry you just remind me of a person I know, Are you Greek?
no need to be sorry! people are always telling me they saw me places. the truth is i have a very generic face and am just like a stupid white dude who looks like a hundred other people. but i’m not greek at all. i wish! gimme a less boring nose and some color. i’m so white i’m basically clear.
Ur so fab like what even. This ask is so irrelevant but wow i just wanted to let u know that ur great.
hahaha i am so not any of those things but compliments are always relevant, seriously just pile them on.
Like hundreds of others I’ve randomly found your Tumblr. I now feel both inadequate and inspired. Ones journey to the person their to be is so personal I won’t ask what inspired your work. What I will ask is how did you find courage to share your voice?
there is no reason to feel inadequate, though realistically most of us feel that sometimes with no sign of not. everyone is inadequate for some things, right? i am an inadequate surgeon. i am an inadequate athlete. it’s okay. it’s normal, really. but it is cool that i can be inspiring in some small way. that is a thing people say to me sometimes and i’m realizing it is not as easy for people to push the stuff they make and write and experience out there. people worry it’s not good enough or important enough or useful. the good news is that it doesn’t totally matter. it’s the internet. your stuff will get lost in the crowd anyway, except for the people who connect with it, want to see it, cherish it, and come back to it. so put it out there. the haters will keep on scrolling and in the meantime you might get some useful feedback, not to mention your platform to share grows slowly.
for me, it doesn’t take courage usually. i have no problem sharing, it’s second nature to me. it’s often easier to speak to thousands of strangers than it is people i know well. you see a selective side of me, plus i get a chance to think about my words and see them in front of me before i hit POST.
You are very cool
I am not very cool but I am a little cool because I have a leather jacket and sometimes I wear it so that’s how you can tell.
You’re an amazing person. I love you.
Maybe I am amazing to just you? Boyfriend? Is this you?
Onde você mora? (“Where do you live,” thanks Google)
I live in New York, in Brooklyn. It’s good for now but I think about moving a lot. Where should I go next?
Eu moro em Nova York, no Brooklyn. É bom para agora, mas eu penso em mudar muito. Onde eu devo ir a seguir?
Hey Adam, any plans for a 2015 planner? I’d love to buy a package deal and get two planners and your new book!
Yes, it’s coming! There’s so much happening in my life right now but I do intend to launch a Kickstarter campaign too, and this year’s planner will operate as a sort of book companion, referencing pages and activities as it goes, assuming you really do 1 page at a time, starting January 1st. But you don’t need to, obviously. I doubt many people will.
I do not sell the book personally, I’m actually not allowed to I don’t think, because it would compete with bookstores that are so graciously supporting this work and other titles from Penguin. But you can find the book at most bookstores & online, and it will slowly creep out into the world in some other countries too.
Well done man, doing big things
Dude! So crazy. Very excited and grateful.
Is it true that tall guys have a hard time finding shirts that fit, because LARGE mostly just describes how wide the shirt is?
I am fat enough to fill my shirts out perfectly for my height. It’s great. God (“carbs”) knew exactly what he was (“they were”) doing when they made me.
would you say you are more of a pessimist or optimist?
I think I am both for sure, split close to the middle, but leaning towards optimist. But it’s also easy to be optimistic when there are things to look forward to. When I get down, I really get down. I’ve been there and back. Happy to say I have been feeling really good for a while now, because I have wonderful people in my life who are there for me.
what do you love about baltimore?
A whole lot. I’ve written about it here before. There are like ten pages worth of tagged posts if you want to dig into the city I love. I will say that after three years, it no longer feels like home, and that makes me sad sometimes, but I know I will always have a place there.
congratulations on the book. My question is. Whence came the inspiration to do it?
It wasn’t even my idea to do a book! Here’s a little of the backstory. I am very proud of what I did make though. It’s light and fun, but gets pretty real. It has a lot of the coping mechanisms and lessons I learned along the process of making it, a difficult year where I started very down, and worked my way through negativity and fear into a much happier, more satisfied person. Have a banana!
hi, i really want to pre-order your book but i live in the uk :( is it going to be available there too/international shipping?
I know import fees suck! The good news is that Penguin UK has picked up the book for a wider release in the UK/Aus/NZ/more and I think that’s supposed to come out in December. So if you hang tight you can get it in a local shop, or at least a local website, and save a little money!
what’s your favorite subway station?
i was seventeen when i first visited new york to see a friend. she was the cool friend who also got me into the most trouble. we met her older cousin and dropped acid and ran around the city for 12 hours. the first time i ever saw a lot of places was on that trip. we waited for a train at delancy/essex and it took forever. the mosaic waves were rolling and crashing. it was overwhelming. i sat there for twenty minutes while everything warped and wiggled. i have dropped acid a few times since and it’s never been that intense. i am too old for that shit now, but i think about it when i’m at the delancy/essex station… nearly every day on the way to work.
10:27 am • 10 October 2014 • 36 notes
#opinions #ask #tl;dr #aboutme #jk1page
realindevelopment said: How does it feel going from your self published big event to being published by someone else?
It is extremely fucking weird.
With my tumblr, bigcartel shop, and kickstarter projects I have total control of everything, from concept and design to production and distribution. It’s a lot of work, but I enjoy being able to do whatever I want in my work, and I like being able to tuck surprises and treats into my packages. I like knowing exactly where things are going, I like that it all feels really personal, and I like that people who buy my stuff usually have some context for who I am, that the voice is genuine, that I’m a human being.
Being published has been a really weird journey, from “I don’t believe this” to “wow this is a lot of work” to “wait, technically they have the option to just not release this, fuck there’s no way they will release this” and now it’s “oh god well here it goes, but will people like it and will it sell enough to prove to the imprint that I was worth the risk?” Every step comes with it’s own neuroses, at least for me.
It was interesting to receive editing notes, though there were very few. My work is edited and reviewed all the time, but not my little personal stuff, so having to defend my actual voice and word choices in some cases was odd. It’s hard to prepare art and then give it to someone else to work with. It was extremely hard to review cover treatments, where an art director took my pieces and did their interpretation of me (I ultimately did ~12 cover variants in a weekend and was like “okay please let’s choose one from these”). It was weird figuring out the title (actually the single hardest part of making this book).
I very proud of the final book, I think I got away with a lot of weirdness in a friendly package. It’s honestly not too far from the self-produced planners, but there’s just so much more. The book is 384 pages of varied but consistent stuff. There’s a lot to do. I alternated between hating and loving the book but I think really it is just a fun framework for however people will use it. Now I just want people to pre-order it so it can do well it’s first week, which will basically define if it gets picked up for sale in certain places, gets media attention, etc. Now that I’ve made one book and realized “hey maybe this is a useful medium for me,” I would love the opportunity to do another sometime. Sales will basically define that.
If you want to support this book, please pre-order it! You’ll get some extra treats from me as a thank you (I have wanted to make these pre-order ribbons for literally a year) and also my extreme gratitude.
10:23 am • 2 September 2014 • 27 notes
#jk1page #opinions #process #1 page at a time #ask
Anonymous said: Will you talk about your time at UMBC? Why you might have liked and disliked it? and specifically it's visual arts program.
Feel like I say this a lot, but I prefer questions like this to not be anonymous. I’ll reply directly, or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) — I actually will reply!
So, UMBC. This was a great school for me, and I directly attribute a lot of my current life to my time there. It’s also the only college I applied to, someone told me they had a design program and University of Maryland didn’t. It turned out to be a very good choice, because the smaller size allowed me to really flourish. It’s easier to accomplish more when you get specialized attention and there’s less competition.
The Visual Arts program was pretty good. That is how I will describe it. Art education is strange, because you can teach methodology, technique, and history, but you can’t teach vision or talent. You can’t grade creativity, just problem-solving. I had some art professors that I loved (Peggy Re, Laure Drogoul, Guenet Abraham) and others I didn’t care for. Design moves fast and I found that some professors were more in tune with modern software and others threw you into the deep end. Both approaches work but your success depends on how you learn.
Other art programs are definitely a stronger foundation. But it’s undergrad. You’re going to mess up, you’re going to be busy learning about yourself. UMBC is an environment full of people vastly different than you are. Hang out with athletes and public policy nerds and biologists. Take courses that have nothing to do with what you think art is. Don’t take “History of Music” as a “soft option” Humanities course, it’s a trap! There’s also a very strong Computer Science department and you should be learning as much about web development as you can. Then consider an MFA from another institution to get real arty if you need to later. I wish I had better programming skills. I am considering an MFA myself sometime.
I will say this every single time I talk about UMBC: Most of my education came from working at commonvision. I learned practical skills, designing with production in mind, managing actual deadlines, dealing with clients in a “safe” environment, and benefitted from a ton of smart people around me. We had a ton of fun, we planned and curated events. I chaired Art Week in 2009. I made my first postcard designs at commonvision, I printed my first Unsolicited Advice planner there. I’m not saying that “everything I’ve ever done is because of commonvision,” but I’m also not saying that. It was the single most important part of my time at UMBC.
But really, no matter what you do or where you go, you need to involve yourself. You will get out what you put in. If you want to coast and get a piece of paper, go for it. But you’re wasting your time. I did everything from campus radio to a recruitment web series where I hung out with the college president on the roof. I designed the student handbook & probably a hundred posters, flyers, and signs. I got to explore my own styles and see them plastered around campus. I ate a lot of free popcorn. UMBC gave me a ton, but I can confidently say I gave plenty back.
11:52 am • 25 July 2014 • 29 notes
#umbc #college #design #opinions #growing up
this post will cease to exist
just watched “the normal heart” and somehow just did not know that this was going to be a 2 hour film about the aids crisis, even though i know now that it’s based on a play of the same name. everyone online was posting about it and was expecting some fun hbo summer series. i started watching it at work! and then people started dying.
i’m sitting here thinking about pride and rage, and more specifically the silent brand of passive activism most of us partake in, when we “like” without reposting or “share” without reading in full. i feel like we’ve become less willing to fight, but i’m not sure if it’s because we’re too obsessed with ourselves or if it’s because we realize just how much we should be fighting for and don’t know where to start.
guess i’ll go pat myself on the back for this post and then forget about caring for a few more weeks.
10:10 pm • 28 May 2014 • 59 notes
#opinions #gay #politics #activism #internet #tl;dr
berryteeth-deactivated20140908 said: Hey! I'm Ruby. I'm an art student who resides in and is incredibly passionate about Baltimore. I was curious as to what some of your favorite places were/ why you love it? It's great to hear other people's experiences and favorite things about the city.
Baltimore changes so quickly, and I feel like every time I go back it’s less like home. But there are some great places that I always like coming back to, and last time we had a talk about the city, there were some great replies, too.
- Atomic Books, Soup’s On, The Crown, Tortilleria Sinaloa, Pete’s Grille, Baltimore Barber Lounge, Charles Theatre, Eddies in Charles Village, AVAM gift shop, Broadway Diner, Ottobar sometimes, Sweet 27, the waterfront area in Fell’s Point, and a handful of places that are gone now, like Village Thrift and The Phoenix…
- Leon’s is my favorite bar, happy hour is every day from 4-10pm. It’s technically a gay leather bar, but like, not really. I once wrote a sponsored Thought Catalog article under the pseudonym “Michael Branch,” and I conveniently left out that fact. There are some other watered-down suggestions there.
- I have no idea about show spaces anymore, seems like they pop-up and then disappear every other year, but I still follow SHOWSPACE to keep up with what’s happening a little bit. If you live in Baltimore you should be following them.
Baltimore is a great city, it has a weird reputation that I sort of understand, it is not the kind of city where you show up and get it all right away, but if you’re looking for someone to hold you’re hand, you won’t find that anywhere.
2:47 pm • 28 January 2014 • 19 notes
#opinions #ask #baltimore
I’ve completed 120 “week in scraps” collages since August 31st, 2011, one per week with the exception of a single collage for January 2013. The best thing about doing this is being able to give focus to the overlooked ephemera of daily life, and find new ways to treasure small things. Some weeks are boring, but it’s always honest. You can see each individually here.
Along the way I’ve been very inspired by other artists’ work. Janice Wu does gorgeous watercolor illustrations of “seemingly worthless objects.” Nicole Lavelle uses collected objects and scraps to perfectly compliment the sentimentality of her work. Jason Bartell does meticulous charcoal drawings of bands’ set lists. Kate Bingaman-Burt has drawn a daily purchase for over six years!
Photographer Devin Castro has been following this blog for a few years now, and three months ago he started posting his own week in scraps on instagram. His #myweekinscraps hashtag has taken off, and there are currently over 350 different collections! It caught me by surprise, but it’s so awesome to see these from others, especially transit tickets from other cities, which is my favorite!
Share your own with hashtag #myweekinscraps on tumblr, instagram, or anywhere else. It’s amazing what you can make out of almost nothing at all.
12:50 pm • 15 January 2014 • 135 notes
#week in scraps #artists on tumblr #adam j. kurtz #jk #opinions #aboutme
Anonymous said: I know its kind of a cliche, but how do you suggest someone find some "direction" in life? I recently moved for my emotional and financial stability, but even though internally I'm feeling a lot better, I don't know where to take life next?
it’s flattering you would ask me this! do i seem like i have figured out my direction? it’s flattering when i get asked design questions! do i seem like i know anything about anything? i am just 1 person out of billions. i don’t know more than anyone else, and i’m happy to admit that.
what is “direction” anyway? every single person is completely different, with different needs, desires, motivations, and happiness. what makes you feel satisfied might not be enough for the next person, what you find most fulfilling in life might be what someone else gave up to find their stability. you need to figure out what makes you the best version of yourself, for yourself. learn what you need to feel comforted, loved, useful, productive, accomplished, and content. learn where you need to be, what you need to be doing, and who you need to be doing it with. it might be sharing your creative mind, it might be raising a child, it might be exploring as much of the world as you can, or it might be enjoying a happy hour drink with the rest of a group you belong to after an engaging work week. the good news is you have an entire lifetime to figure it out.
11:38 am • 18 June 2013 • 19 notes
#ask #opinions #life experiences
Anonymous said: recently i've gotten a LOT of negative backlash from family members (mainly mom and grandma, but from other assorted fam. members as well) from choosing to do graphic design. I'm set on my plan but I constantly have people trying to dissuade me from pursuing something I'm extremely interested and set on doing. any advice on how to stay positive?
here’s the thing — half the time, you’ll earn a degree in one thing and do something else entirely. think about how many people graduate with fine arts degrees versus the number of full time career artists. it’s not just art, it’s everything. ultimately, what you choose to study does not define who you become.
if graphic design is literally the only thing you’re interested in, then maybe it’s the right choice. work hard, learn as much as you can and pick up additional skills like printmaking, web development, motion graphics, whatever is available and interesting. be the best graphic designer you can be, and then take all of that to your first, second, fifth jobs. do your best and hope for the best. that is literally life.
are there are career paths that are maybe more predictable and traditional? yes, i think so. i have friends who took other paths and landed into jobs immediately after graduation, or those who are on pretty standard med school tracks. those are probably great options and i hope that they will do, or continue to do, really well.
but i also know lots of people who earned degrees in one thing or another who aren’t actively doing anything related to what they studied. or aren’t actively doing anything at all, really. what you study doesn’t define you forever. you can always try, learn, and explore new things. life will surprise you, jobs will push you down different career paths, and you may find that you’re really good at, and enjoy, something you did not expect.
your family is worried about you because they know what we are just figuring out — that life is hard, that priorities and dreams change, and that nothing is guaranteed. they want you to have the best foundation possible so you can achieve everything they know you deserve. choose to be happy by doing something you know you love, but make them proud by being the fucking best at it.
11:05 am • 18 June 2013 • 24 notes
#ask #opinions #design
This was a tough weekend but I am grateful for a lot of things. Rest in peace, I love you, a bushel and a peck. Read More.
5:49 pm • 30 April 2013 • 81 notes
#opinions #family #life experiences #thought catalog
Potential Future Thought Catalog Articles That I Would Maybe Write Sometime Probably
- “things that i actually did or said on dates”
- “the universe used to revolve around me until last month”
- “ways in which i am literally turning into my mother”
- “songs that i thought might actually save my life”
- “idk something ~quirky~ about me, lol”
- “advice that i gave to you that i did not take myself”
- “reasons why suicide might actually be the answer”
- "articles on this website that i think are much better than mine"
- “people that i have slept with that i will never forget”
- “people that i have slept with that i literally can’t remember”
- “why tumblr is simultaneously saving and ruining my life”
- “this list hahahahahahahahahahahaha winkface.gif”
6:13 pm • 15 April 2013 • 63 notes
#lists #saving this for later #opinions
today marks 1 full year of living in new york city, a year that has changed me in ways i did not and could not have anticipated, good, bad, and “i don’t know yet or ever.” this year has gone by so quickly that it’s almost hard to comprehend at all.
this morning i picked up all my developed film, ten rolls from the last year. at the same time that the year has disappeared, i’m suddenly hit with an overwhelming wealth of documentation — road trip signage, best friends & breakfast, people i have loved, and things i forgot completely.
life has been really good to me and i have a lot of positive things in my life. but i also have a lot of work to do. i’m realizing things about myself that a lot of people who love me have already known. i’m realizing things that i have been leaking out the sides onto the internet and through the bits and pieces that i make, art or whatever.
so now i have all these emotions and memories and photos. are they art? does that matter? do i put them on facebook and tag my friends? do i edit and juxtapose and put them to paper? is this past year a zine? is this past year a postcard series? will the life i’m living and the lessons i learned still matter if i don’t make something out of it? are the feelings still valid if i don’t share them? can i even share everything? will i be too vulnerable? is it fair to air out the old feelings when everyone is so diligently moving on in their own directions? is it fair to relive past lives when i can only move forward?
i’ve spent the last few months just trying to figure out what everything means for me. i’ve regretted “being an ‘artist,’” i have wished that i didn’t always have to “make things out of things,” i have wished that i could just work and eat and sleep and repeat. but that’s just not how i function.
the truth is what i guess i have always known. life is what you make of it. sometimes literally, and i explore that a lot. but it can’t always be tangible. not every feeling can be a postcard that i can mail away. some emotions are exactly what they are, and they have to be mine to keep. so i am going to go through all my photos and i will share some when i figure it all out.
11:45 am • 1 April 2013 • 95 notes
#life #nyc #life experiences #opinions #gpoyw